Just listen to that tree!

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, National Trust, North Yorkshire

As you wander down the hill to Fountains Abbey, and arrive at West Green, you’ll spot a tree, a sweet chestnut tree with – how odd! – a girdle of headphones hanging from its branches.

This information board explains all: these headphones enable you to listen in, via highly sensitive microphones, to the hidden sounds of the tree.

Truly – it’s astonishing, mesmerising. Just as our blood courses round our body, day in, day out, so water and air courses constantly through the tree. Through headphones, it sounds something like the tinkling of a mountain stream as it tumbles over pebbles. And behind it, as your ears adjust, there’s a low, more intermittent soft rumbling sound. This is the tree moving. Saturday was a still day, but we could hear that rumbling as we listened closely. On a windy day, I wonder what we’d have heard?

This next photo is the last I took, and the last one of all for April, so one for Brian Bushboy’s Last on the Card

During May, I’m taking a break. I probably won’t even have a chance to read the posts of those of you I follow. When I get the chance though, I’ll try to send a virtual postcard or two.

Mystery stories

Blogging challenges

A single image to tell a whole story. That’s what Ann Christine, in her Lens-Artists Challenge asks us to post this week. Many bloggers have already played along, and many have also told the story that goes with the picture. I’m made of meaner stuff. I’ll give you four photos. You provide four stories. Is that a deal? Your tales may not get much further than your head, but if you want to share them, I’d love to read them.

The featured image seems to be the aftermath of – well – perhaps you know?

And why is there a clock on a hedge in a country lane? Perhaps Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit knows?

We saw this scene in Málaga, but never found out more about this apparently appalling crime.

My last photo was also my last of the month, so qualifies for Brian aka Bushboy’s Last on the Card challenge. I don’t know whether there’s a story here, but judging by the racket coming down from the tree, there were plenty of stories being told.

One picture – four pictures – many stories.

A window on our local country houses

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

On the last day of April, I took myself for a short walk, from country house to country house near me. They’re all called Sleningford-something-or-other – Old Hall, Hall, Grange – in memory of the village of the same name that was ravaged by marauding Scots in the Middle Ages, never to be seen again. Though they had older antecedents, all these buildings are from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and they all mark pleasant pauses in our walking routines. Here’s the gatehouse to the first, Sleningford Old Hall, its window enabling the gatehouse keeper to keep his eye on all the comings and goings into the estate. Well, the last actually. I’m showing my last photo first, and working back towards home.

The gatehouse to Sleningford Old Hall

Only the upstairs windows of the house itself were visible over the high wall which maintains the owners’ privacy.

A mile or so beforehand, I’d already passed Sleningford Park and Hall. You can see the house set in its parkland in the feature photo. The conservatory has glass enough, and the gatehouse too has windows pointing in every direction to help the gatekeeper do his job.

I’d started from home of course, less than a mile before that. Not that we live in the house you see here. But we’re lucky enough to live in its grounds, in a rather simpler dwelling, which has its own long history – that’s for another day.

This is a multi-tasking post. It responds to Brian-at-Bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge; to Ludwig’s Monday Window; and to Jo’s Monday Walk.